The Journal Of Music In Ireland: Ireland's Bi-Monthly Music Magazine
JMI Cover Image, September/October 2007
The Contemporary Music Centre
The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Eala&iacuteon
Laughing at the Chaos: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
Benjamin Dwyer
<< September/October 2007 : Volume 7, Number 5 >>
This November, a festival dedicated to the music of György Ligeti, one of the giants of twentieth-century composition, takes place in Dublin. Benjamin Dwyer, Artistic Director of ‘Remembering Ligeti’, describes what makes the Hungarian’s music so remarkable.

Well before he died in June 2006 György Ligeti was casting a long shadow. His compositions are the subject of an ever-growing canon of critical response, interpretation and commentary. This is because the expansive reach of his musical meanings connects to the most deeply felt regions of contemporary sensibility and psychology – the chaos, the confusion, the contradiction, the humour and, yes, the absurdity of it all.

For almost fifty years Ligeti produced music which quite simply thwarted classification. In 1956 he secretly crossed the border to escape the Communist grip on Hungary and since then spent the majority of his composing life skipping the borders between zealously guarded methods and genres. Despite his ambivalence to creed, there is little that is eclectic...

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